You’ve just taken on a new role, and you’re excited. Excited because you were looking for progression and are a driven individual. However, you’re also feeling a little stressed by the new responsibilities and workload. It is times like this that improving your emotional intelligence can be just as beneficial as broadening your cognitive intelligence. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with improving the extent of your knowledge. But learning how to effectively deal with the rigours of a new role and responsibilities it brings is just as important – if not more so. If you want to progress and enjoy a successful career, read our five top tips on how to improve your emotional intelligence.
1: Reflect on your past behaviour
Have you ever thought back on a past dealing with someone, read a text, or an email, and thought you could have worded it better or shown more empathy? Take the time to ponder on that and if you think you’ve responded in a negative way, consider how you might react more positively in the future. Then try to apply it to your next conversation, either virtual or physical. You can then use these examples as evidence when it comes to your developmental career conversations with a line manager. For example, to demonstrate how you’ve resolved a conflict or worked around a troublesome situation, etc. Reflecting on your communication also allows you to understand how to handle similar situations more effectively in the future.
2: Take your time and know when to pause
Speed isn’t always in everyone’s best interests – unless you’re a sprinter. So, take your time to think about what you’re saying before you respond. That way, you’re relying on logic rather than emotion. Take a second and think about how your words may impact someone else. Doing this will reduce the risk of conflict and help you to appear more favourable as a good team player. And everyone loves a team player in their organisation. When you work on pausing before you act, you reduce your risk of altercations and keep internal conflict to a minimum.
3: Be proactive, not reactive
This one takes a little work but is worth it in the long run. Being proactive is associated with those who have higher emotional intelligence. This is because they can make decisions based on their values and a desired outcome without focussing on other people’s behaviours. Although that doesn’t mean not considering other people’s feelings, but rather using logic to reach a result. They allow outside influences and how they feel about them to control their responses. They react automatically without thinking.
Stephen R Covey, author of the popular book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said:
“When we blame and accuse others, we are reactive. We focus on the behaviours of others and get so involved that we stop thinking, feeling and acting in our best interests. On the other hand, by exercising proactivity, we don’t let others’ behaviours drive our decisions. Despite others’ actions, we make choices according to our values, purpose, and desired outcomes. It’s not what people do to us that hurts us. In the most fundamental sense, it is our chosen response to what they do to us that hurts us.”Stephen R Covey
4: Take some time to understand your feelings
Who knows you better than you? There are several different models you can use to accurately assess where you are. The Six Seconds KCG Model is a three-step process which allows you to understand how you respond to certain circumstances. The three steps are:
- Knowing yourself: understanding how you respond to certain situations.
- Choosing yourself: deciding what version of yourself you’ll choose to be and proactively respond accordingly.
- Giving yourself: committing to being the best version of yourself, but knowing when to share your emotions with others.
5: Ask other people
The best way to get an accurate view of how you’re perceived is just by asking someone. A lot of people will be honoured that you value their opinion and will respond appropriately. Remember, it’s another test of your emotional intelligence to react positively to the negative parts of their feedback and view it as a gift. This knowledge can further your career as you’ll be able to make subtle changes to your professional interactions based on that feedback, thus improving your standing within a company/team.
So, there you have it. We’ve given you a number of great tips to improve your emotional intelligence and, in turn, improve your chances of career progression.
The next steps are all up to you.
How to improve emotional Intelligence is one of the subjects we discuss in our Career Labs which provide employees with a dynamic learning environment to build career development skills. Click here to find out more.